Shisha is a stitch that is used to fix mirrors onto fabric. We see this a lot in belly dance costumes and accessories, so I thought it might be nice to have a tutorial for the DIYers out there! The mirror catches light and adds a shimmering sparkle, and the thread adds a nice pop of colour. It can be used on belts, coin bras - anything that needs a flickering decoration!
Here is an example of shisha on a belt I'm working on:
Let's get started! You will need:
- Mirrors (I got a little bag of 3 different sizes from Michaels)
- Thread and sewing needle
- Fabric to practice on
Step One - Six:
Here you are making the first rectangle over the mirror. You will have to hold the mirror in place while you do so. Try to make these tight, and fairly close to each other, as they will form the first part of the base for the entire stitch. When you create the frame going around the mirror, the stitches will fall right off the mirror if these first base stitches are too loose.
This part is probably the most finicky and difficult as the mirror wants to slip away, so hold it tight in place (or use glue it if it won't ruin the fabric) and be patient with yourself!
Steps Seven - Eight:
Create a second perpendicular rectangle over top of the other. Again keep the stitches fairly tight and try to have these base stitches match up evenly.
Steps Nine - Twelve:
Now with our base stitches in place (as in picture 8), we will create the frame of colour around the mirror. Your needle should be at the back of the fabric. Start by threading the needle up through the fabric a few millimeters away from the mirror. Overlap the base stitches, pulling the needle through underneath and back into the fabric. This will determine the width of the frame around the mirror, and you will want to keep this distance the same around the circumference of the mirror.
Continue this around the entire mirror, making sure to put the stitches very close together so the frame is full and vibrant - not sparse with holes. There you have it! You have completed your shisha stitch and framed a shimmering little mirror on your dance costume!
(The cowries are just sewn on by their ends - a few loops on each and knotted off on the back securely.)
It's difficult to show where the threads and needle is going so I hope the pictures and description were clear enough. Good luck!